At independence, Kenya’s forest cover stood at around 10% of her land mass, today, it’s a measly 1.2% according to the last official reports and this is alarming. Furthermore we lost our national hero and world renown treehugger, Prof Wangari Maathai, which is a cause for alarm since
all most of our leaders don’t care about the environment and biodiversity.
The Mau forest used to be the largest water tower in Eastern Africa but over the last 40 somewhat years we have consistently been cutting down trees en masse, for settlement, farming and other commercial uses. The worst part of the story is that the Mau issue has been heavily politicized. It is a grey area on whether to evict the inhabitants or not but leaders are using it as a card to win votes from those people.
Obviously, this is why Kenya is getting less rain each year and end up importing expensive food, weakening our beloved Kenya Shilling to an all time low of 107 to the greenback. Apart from food security, this deforestation has led to more greenhouse gases in our environment, which is linked to many cases of cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Trees act as a carbon sink and absorb the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, making a cleaner and healthier planet.
We need to change our way of thinking, from a market based economy to a resource based economy. The status quo is not working for the majority, but rather the minority. The environment is the most important asset we have as a human race but we are not conserving enough. Instead, we are clearing forests and farmlands into commercial and residential real estate which is not sustainable. We are using more fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides and very recently genetically modified organisms. This has had a very huge effect in the productivity of our land, which subsequently forces us to use more inorganic chemicals on the depleted land. We need to think about hydroponics, aquaponics and aeroponics and not genetically engineering our food to suit the changing environment. What do you think? Please share your thoughts on the comments section below